New Life to a French Chapuis-Comoy Sunrise 729 Acrylic Bent Stem Dublin Sitter

The next pipe on the worktable came to me in 2018 when my son, Josiah, contacted me from an antique shop in St. Louis, where he lived and was studying.  He found a box of pipes with a price on it, and he texted me in Bulgaria, where we were then, with a question whether I would be interested in them?  It did not take long for my response of ‘Yes!’ and he purchased what I called the St. Louis Lot of 26.  The caveat from Josiah was that he would share in the purchase and that I was to choose one pipe in the Lot for myself from him – a gift for the coming Christmas.  The picture below was taken after unwrapping the Lot on Christmas and guess which pipe I chose as my Christmas gift?  The huge Churchwarden in the center, of course.   Many of the other pipes have found new homes with stewards who commissioned them from the For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY! collection benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Here is the St. Louis Lot of 26:Darren saw the Sunrise 759 Dublin Sitter in the Dreamers collection and he commissioned it along with several other pipes.  The Sunrise is marked in the picture above.  Here are more pictures of the Sunrise that called Darren’s name: The oval shank holds the nomenclature with the upper side being stamped, SUNRISE and the lower side has stamped what appears to be the shape number, 759.  Parallel with the shank facing is the COM: FRANCE.The stamping on the acrylic stem is on the top of the saddle.  I have not seen this before and it is unusual.  I would describe it as an arrowhead and shaft with an ‘S’ ensconced in the center.  We will see if I can find it in the research!This is an attractive and stylish pipe.  I am calling it a Dublin sitter, but it would probably be better labeled as a ‘rocker’ because of the flat but rounded heel.  The oval shank is attractive with the transition to the marbled pearl acrylic stem.  I’ve worked on a pipe stamped with Sunrise but it was a Comoy’s of London sub brand and the stem was marked with the traditional Comoy’s ‘C’ (See: Refreshing a Comoy’s Sunrise Made in London England H 16 Volcano).  The Sunrise before me now has a different COM as well as the unique stem logo.  My first stop to Pipedia discovers some interesting information of a Sunrise brand but the source of the information is from Pipephil (See LINK).  The information about Sunrise in Pipephil uncovers interesting information:

The Sunrise brand perfectly illustrates the split pipe production of a same label between Saint Claude (FR) and London (GB) during the period Chapuis-Comoy and Comoy’s closely collaborated (prior to early 1970s).

I include the Pipephil panel below with examples of the ‘shared’ Sunrise brand of the Chapuis-Comoy production in both St. Claude and London.  This is cool.  The panel is helpful to show that all the examples from both production locations have the same, ‘arrowhead – S’ stem stamping. Yet, the Comoy’s Sunrise I worked on previously has the ‘C’ stem logo not the arrowhead.  It is likely, and it would take more research to fully confirm, but from the Pipephil information above, both production sites shared the same stem logo for the Sunrise brand until 1971 when the London-based Comoy’s production became independent.  The history and business development of the intertwined London/St. Claude relationship takes a bit to unwind through the 1900s.  This additional information from the Chapuis-Comoy Pipephil article is helpful:

Short brand’s history:  Founded in 1925 by Henry Comoy and his cousins Chapuis at St Claude. In 1928 Chapuis Comoy & Cie created the brand Chacom. Chacom is a contraction of Chapuis-Comoy.  After fusion with La Bruyere in 1932 the corporate owned the biggest pipe factory in the world. The London factory became independent in 1971 (see Comoy). The panel with Chapuis-Comoy examples below shows a distinctive ‘C/C’ stem logo and the Sunrise brand listed among them.  My theory and guess is that perhaps during the shared period of the Chapuis-Comoy production pictured in the panel above, the Sunrise brand from both production sites had the arrowhead stem logo.  When the Comoy’s production became independent in 1971, it adopted the Comoy’s ‘C’ stem stamping on the London production of the Sunrise brand.  My guess is that perhaps the French production of Sunrise continued into the 70s and after with the arrowhead logo and simply the COM, France.  If this theory is accurate, the Sunrise on my table would have been produced most likely after 1971. With a better understanding of the Sunrise brand, I look more closely at the Sunrise Dublin on the worktable.  This pipe was a much-loved companion by looking at the condition – it was well smoked and used.  The flip side of this is that it was not cared for as well.  He is in pretty rough shape!  The chamber has a thick carbon cake which needs attention.  The almost plateau-like Dublin rim has a thick lava flow crusting over the top.  It will be after the cleaning that I will be able to determine the health of the briar underneath.A survey of the stummel shows a lot of dark spots, dents, scratches, and thick grime.  I am not sure of the dark spots whether they are grime or perhaps, potential areas that the briar was over heated.  What is interesting and that can be seen in the next two opposite pictures below, are dark vertical line running on the sides of the stummel.  Grime? I hope so!The crook of the shank at the juncture of the bowl and shank is darkened – perhaps from heating problems. Overall, the briar surface over the entire bowl is full of grime, nicks, and dents.  Patches are evident where the finish is worn or gone.  This can be seen in the second picture below of the heel.The marbled pearl acrylic stem is attractive but like the stummel, needs some TLC.  The airway shows staining through the translucent acrylic.The upper and lower bit has been chewed.  The button also shows tooth compressions, especially on the lower side.Looking at the button from the slot perspective, the biting on the edge of the lip is significant.There is much to do to bring this Sunrise Bent Dublin back to a pristine condition.  I start by cleaning the airway of the acrylic stem.  This will probably take some effort for the stain in the airway to be removed.  I start by using pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%.  Some progress is made but not much.  To push forward removing the staining, SoftScrub with bleach is used with shank brushes.  This does the trick.  I could see very quickly that the SoftScrub was breaking up the stain.  The stem s transferred to the sink where I added hot water to the mix.  Finally, after the staining was cleared, the stem was rinsed thoroughly and brought back to the worktable.A before and after comparison tells the story.  I love to see acrylic stems without the stain.  Regular cleaning from the new steward will go a long way in keeping a stem pristine.Next, I turn to the daunting project of cleaning the stummel.  Yes, daunting, but if 99% of the issues is grime, cleaning will go a long way.  We’ll see.  I take a fresh picture of the starting point of cleaning the chamber of the heavy carbon buildup.  Nasty!I begin the reaming process using the first two blade heads from the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I quickly recognize what I’ve seen as characteristic of Dublin shaped bowls – the chamber is more distinctively conical which angles more sharply than the blade heads can navigate.  At this point I bring out my ‘old boy’ Kleen Reem tool that I found in a flea market in Kentucky some years back.  The design of the Kleen Reem tool is that the cutting arms can expand uniformly by screwing the knob on the end.  This allows it to ream at the more severe angles.  As I use the tool, starting at the floor of the chamber, the tool is rotated and as it backs out of the expanding chamber, a turn of the knob keeps the blades flush with the chamber wall – removing cake.Next, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool nicely follows the Kleen Reem tool and scrapes the chamber wall.

Finally, the chamber wall is sanded using 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.After the chamber is wiped with a cotton pad to remove carbon dust, another ‘after’ picture is taken.  To my surprise and relief, the chamber is in good shape.  I expected there to be heating fissures and veins, but there appears to be neither.Following the chamber cleaning, the rim and the stummel are scrubbed using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  A starting picture of the rim shows the lava caked over the rim.A cotton pad scrubs the surface and the stummel is grungy.  The pocketknife is used carefully to scrape the rim.  I drag the blade over the surface keeping it level.  I drag rather than push the blade which helps to prevent unintentional cuts.A brass wired brush follows the knife to scrub the rim as well as the dark spots on the stummel surface.  The brass brush provides more abrasion but does not dig into the wood.After finishing the heavy duty cleaning on the external briar surface and rim, the stummel is transferred to the sink.Using long shank brushes the cleaning is continued with hottish water and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap scrubbing the internal mortise and airway.  After scrubbing well, the stummel is thoroughly rinsed and goes back to the worktable.Next, the internal cleaning is continued with pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 99%.  To help, a small dental spoon is used to reach into the mortise to scrape the mortise walls excavating tars and oils.  The buds and pipe cleaners emerge lighter, and I call the process to a halt.  I will continue cleaning the internals later at the close of the work day using a soak with kosher salt and alcohol.After the primary cleaning is completed, a survey of the stummel reveals a pipe that has seen happier days ☹.  The old finish was in large removed during the cleaning process.  Vestiges of the finish produce a spotty appearance.  The rim cleaned nicely and grain showing good potential is now visible.  There is a fill pit on the lower right side in the picture below as well as cuts and dents can be seen on the outer edge of the rim.  At one time the inwardly sloped plateau/rim had a smart internal rim bevel that finished the taper.  The bevel is all but gone through the wearing down of the rim. The left side of the bowl shows almost raw briar – but some nice patterns are showing.  A large fill deteriorates during the cleaning leaving a large pit.The right side of the bowl shows residual old finish on the shank side and spots on the fore section.The dark area that at the crook of the shank that presented a heating problem turns out to be grime.  The spot remains on the side of the oval shank – it appears to be grain distinction.The first step in helping the stummel’s return to a pristine condition is to address the fill on the rim and on the side of the bowl.  Using a sharp dental probe, I dig out any remaining fill.After wiping the fill areas with alcohol to clean, I mix a small batch of briar dust putty.  I place a small mound of dust next to a small puddle of regular CA glue.Using a toothpick, some briar dust is gradually pulled into the CA glue and mixed.  I continue this process of drawing in the dust until the putty starts taking shape and thicken.  When it reaches the viscosity of molasses, the toothpick is used to trowel the putty to the fills.  After covering the fills on the side of the stummel and on the rim, while the putty is still wet, I use the tip of the toothpick to knead the patches.  I do this with the thought that it might help release air pockets that are trapped.To quicken the curing process, an accelerator is used to cure the patches.After the patches are thoroughly cured, removing the excess patch material starts with a flat needle file.  Using the file, I file down the patches until they are flush with the briar surface.  A tight square needle file is also used to hone in on the rim patch.Following filing, 240 paper is used to smooth out the filing scratches.Next, the 240 sanding paper is used to sand the tapered rim.  To do this I press the sanding paper between my thumb and wood.To restore an internal bevel I use 240 paper pressed with a small piece of wood and thrumb and work methodically around internal rim.I finish the rim sanding at this stage with 600 grade paper.  Wow, what a difference.  I like the grain presentation on the rim.In preparation for sanding the stummel surface, I first cover the stampings of the nomenclature on the upper and lower  shank to protect them. To clean up the stummel of the many scratches, spots and dents I use sanding sponges which sand but minimally.  Starting with the coarsest sponge, sand with the finer sponges in succession.  The results look great. Moving forward with the fine sanding, micromesh pads are used starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain comes out more during the micromesh process. Before moving further with the finishing of the stummel, I had mentioned earlier of continuing the internal cleaning with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This process had done a great job in my experience of cleaning and refreshing the briar.  First, a cotton ball is stretched and twisted to create a wick which serves to draw tars and oils out of the internal briar.  With the aid of a stiff wire the wick is guided down the mortise and airway. Next, kosher salt is used to fill the chamber.  Kosher salt is used because it doesn’t leave an aftertaste like regular iodized salt.  The stummel is then placed in an egg crate to give stability and to angle the stummel so that the rim and end of the shank are level.  With a large eye dropper, isopropyl 99% fills the bowl until the alcohol surfaces above the salt. After 10 minutes or so, the alcohol is topped after it is absorbed into the salt and cotton wick.  The stummel is then set aside for several hours for the soak to do the job.The marbled ivory acrylic stem has been waiting.  The airway cleaned up very nicely.  Now, the tooth damage to the bit and button are in view.  A few fresh pictures give a closer look at the issues. The light color of the acrylic makes it difficult to see the contours of the damage.  The next picture is the upper bit.  The bit has a lot of tooth chatter and the upper button lip is compressed.The lower bit also has chatter but a deeper compression butting up to the button, which also is compressed. The final picture again pictures the lower bit with perhaps a better view of the compressed button lip as it narrows.The plan is to rebuild the button – both upper and lower, with regular clear CA glue.  An accelerator helps in holding the glue in place to do the rebuilding.  Glue is also applied to the upper and lower bit filling the compressions.  The smaller chatter will be sanded. With the patches fully cured, the squared needle file goes to work first by defining the button and then expanding to filing the bit patches – upper and lower. Using the flat needle file, next the button itself is filed down and shaped. To further smooth and remove filing scratches, 240 sanding paper is applied next.  Starting with the bit area the sanding is expanded to the entire stem.  I did not sand the top of the saddle hump near the stamping is because it did not appear to have any scratches needing to be sanding.  The damage to the bit and button has been removed and it’s looking good!Following the 240 sandpaper, 600 grade paper is used with wet sanding.  Following this, 0000 grade steel wool is applied to the stem. The sanding of the acrylic stem continues with applying micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the stem is wet sanded.  Following this, the stem is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I apply Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads to condition the acrylic.  I love watching gnarly acrylic bounce back like this guy.  Very nice. The stummel has been in a soak of kosher salt and alcohol for several hours.  The salt shows some soiling and the wick as well.  After the expended salt is put in the waste, the chamber is wiped with a paper towel to remove salt crystals.  I also blow through the mortise to clear salt crystals that were missed. To make sure that the cleaning in complete, a cotton bud and pipe cleaner confirm that this was so.  After a whiff to verify, the bowl is as fresh as I know how to make it! I decided along the way that I would dye the stummel a light brown not so much to darken it, but to create more contrasting in the grain.  The grain is nice on this Sunrise Dublin, and I want the grain to pop more.  To start, the stummel is warmed with a hot air gun to open up the grain.  This, I believe, helps the darker veins of the grain to be more receptive the pigment of the dye. After the stummel is warmed, a folded pipe cleaner is used to paint the Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye in swatches on the stummel.  While the aniline dye is still wet, a lit candle is used to ‘flame’ the dye.  The candle combusts the alcohol in the dye and leaves behind the pigment in the grain. After thoroughly painting and flaming the stummel, the stummel is set aside through the night to allow the new dye to settle.  Tomorrow morning, I will look forward to unwrapping the flamed crust to see the how the grain received the dye. The next morning, it is time to unwrap the flamed stummel.  After mounting a more abrasive felt buffing wheel on the rotary tool, the speed is set at a slower 30% full power.  Red Tripoli compound is then used to ‘plow’ the flamed crust.  The slower speed is to keep the heating down of the combined greater abrasiveness of the Tripoli compound and felt wheel. The process advances methodically as the felt wheel plows the crusted dye revealing the grain below.  The pictures below show the greater contrasting in the grain structure resulting from the light brown dye being applied.  It takes a good bit of time for the unwrapping process to go around the entire stummel.  The focus of the unwrapping with the abrasive felt wheel and Tripoli is to remove excess dye on the stummel.  After the initial removal revealing grain, I continue to look for and focus on with the wheel darker ‘blotches’ of dye which obscure the grain texture. After completing the first round of heavy duty plowing with the felt wheel, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool and the speed is increased to a bit faster than normal to about 50% full power.  Again, Tripoli compound is applied but using the softer, more pliable cotton wheel.  First, the wheel focuses on the crook of the bowl and shank where the felt wheel was unable to reach.  The picture below shows the darker concentration excess dye in the crook.  The cotton wheel continues and applies Tripoli over the entire stummel once more.  I find that this second round applying Tripoli compound more finely sharpens the grain definition and continues to remove excess dye.  After the second round of Tripoli is completed, the stummel is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  This lightens the stummel a bit but also serves to blend the new dye and continue removing excess dye.Next, after the Sunrise acrylic stem and stummel are reunited, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted, and the speed of the rotary tool slowed to 40% full power.  The finer Blue Diamond compound then applied to the entire pipe again removing more excess dye and sharpening the grain continues. Next, a felt cloth is used to wipe down the stem and stummel to remove compound dust that collected on the surface.  A close look at the shank shows a ‘caked’ line of compound that needs to be removed. The last step is applying carnauba wax.  After another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool with the speed remaining at about 40% full power, carnauba is applied.  My norm is to do one round of the initial application on the stem and stummel and then a few additional cycles working the wax in.  My approach is less is more regarding wax.  Too much wax and it just will not absorb.  After application of the wax, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.My, oh my!  This French Chapuis-Comoy Sunrise 729 is a beauty!  I never grow tired of watching the emergence of grain – it was always there but now can be seen and enjoyed.  The Dublin shape with the ‘rocker’ heel is not a true sitter but adds to the attractive lines of the pipe.  The Dublin is a shape with an attitude and the oval shank coupled with the marbled ivory acrylic stem adds a unique class.  The French connection of Chapuis-Comoy makes this pipe a collectable and a great addition to anyone’s collection.  Darren saw the potential of this Sunrise Dublin Sitter and commissioned it.  He will have the first opportunity to claim the Sunrise from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I love showing the ‘before’ picture to remind us how far we have come.  Thanks for joining me!

 

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